The results are from a three-year study analyzing data from infertile men who had been repeatedly exposed to high water temperatures through hot tubs, Jacuzzis or hot baths. "It has been believed for decades that wet heat exposure is bad for fertility, as an old wives’ tale, but this effect has rarely been documented," said Paul J. Turek, MD, lead investigator who is a professor in the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Urology and director of the UCSF Male Reproductive Health Center. "We now have actual evidence to show patients that these recreational activities are a real risk factor for male infertility."
Although this was only a pilot study, Turek said, "these activities can be comfortably added to that list of lifestyle recommendations and ‘things to avoid’ as men attempt to conceive." Study findings also showed that the negative effect of this exposure was reversible in nearly half of the infertile men who discontinued the practice.
The study’s 11 patients were identified on the basis of repeated exposure to wet heat and were asked to cease that exposure for three or more months. Five of the patients (45 percent) responded favourably to the cessation of heat exposure and had a mean increase in total motile sperm counts of 491 percent after three to six months. This increase was largely driven by a statistically significant increase in sperm motility among responders, from a mean of 12 percent at the start of the study to 34 percent post-intervention.
Of the six patients who did not see an increase in sperm count or motility, tobacco use emerged as a possible differentiating factor. Five of those patients were chronic tobacco users with a significant smoking history, in contrast to only three occasional smokers in the responder group.
MEDICA.de; Source: University of California - San Francisco